Wednesday, December 07, 2016
UN "rapporteur" says Australians (and their leaders) have a big racism problem
This is part of the U.N. -- itself a highly corrupt body -- hiring people from corrupt Third World countries -- in this case Kenya -- to criticize First world countries. But no country is perfect so they will always find something to pick at.
What is lacking is any metric, any sense of proportion. Even an ordinal scale might be interesting: Is Australia the 3rd most racist or the 133rd most racist? We are not told. Which makes the criticism pretty meaningless. The criticisms below are entirely consistent with Australia being the least racist country in the world. If that is so, it does put a rather different light on the criticisms, does it not?
Even politically correct old Britain has been in their firing line
One wonders at the reasons behind these pointless exercises. Are they meant to make the inhabitants of poor countries feel good? Are they meant to make the United Nations look good? Who knows? There is certainly nothing scientific or even original about them. They just regurgitate the talking points of the political Left
The United Nations' special rapporteur on racism has condemned Australian politicians from major and minor parties whose statements are contributing to an increase in "xenophobic hate speech" and negative views about migrants.
Mutuma Ruteere has also warned that political leaders who do not denounce such views are tacitly contributing to the normalisation of hard-right and racist opinions.
"If they do not speak out they lend legitimacy to them. It's very easy for darkness to drive out the light. It's very easy for the bad to demean the good. It's much harder to clear out the political space once it's infected by racists," Mr Ruteere said in Canberra on Wednesday.
Mr Ruteere was finishing a visit to Australia, the first by someone holding his position in 15 years. He comments will form the basis of a report he will deliver to the United Nations Human Rights Council next year.
Mr Ruteere said Australia was not unique among western democracies in grappling with popular support for parties with discriminatory policies and racist views.
He said the "danger" for Australia was the experience of other countries where "the fringe elements keep moving to the centre, to the mainstream [and] the fringe becomes the mainstream".
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was criticised in November for comments he made about migrants. "That's a threat not just for Australia but all open multicultural societies. This is something open democratic states need to be aware about and to take pre-emptive action against," Mr Ruteere said.
Western democracies were "reckoning with history", he said, and "have to make the decision whether to confront the bigots and racists who purport to speak for the people but contradict" the values on which those societies were founded, such as equality of all people.
Mr Ruteere's visit to Australia coincided with the final two weeks of Parliament in which Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was criticised by Labor, the Greens, security experts and multicultural groups when he suggested Australia's immigration program in the 1970s had made "mistakes".
Challenged in Parliament to identify the groups he was referring to, Mr Dutton said "of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist-related offences in this country, 22 are from second and third-generation Lebanese Muslim backgrounds".
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull later praised the performance of Mr Dutton although he stopped short of endorsing his minister's comments.
The visit also coincided with a speech given by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson in which she said she was "fed up" with being called racist and backed the review of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
Mr Ruteere said there was no need to change the law.
"Removing this provision would undermine the efforts taken by the various levels of government for an inclusive Australia and open the door to racist and xenophobic hate speech, which has been quite limited thanks to this provision," Mr Ruteere said.
He also praised the work of the Human Rights Commission and its president, Gillian Triggs.
During his visit, Mr Ruteere was briefed on the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
He recommended Australia re-examine its criminal justice system to "embrace alternatives to detention and avoid mandatory sentences" and urged Australia to grant constitutional recognition to Indigenous peoples as soon as possible.
Greenie panic about Great Barrier Reef could harm tourism and agriculture
The Queensland and Federal Governments' reef 2050 progress report to UNESCO says land clearing is a significant challenge to future sustainability.
Scientists link land clearing to sediment runoff and poor water quality, and the report says it could put the reef on UNESCO's 'in danger' list.
Cynthia Sabag, who runs a tropical fruit farm halfway between Townsville and Cairns, said she is concerned about the health of the Great Barrier Reef, but does not think farming is to blame for its deterioration.
"It seems that agriculture has often been made the scapegoat in this debate," she said. "There was no evidence on our land that any of our farming was causing runoff, which would affect the Great Barrier Reef."
The State Government recently failed to pass laws to stop clearing, and now the Federal Government says it might intervene.
That would be a win for conservationists, but for Ms Sabag a return to more precarious times when she was not allowed to clear land for farming. "The way it was prior to the legislation, we had no hope whatsoever of ever selling our property and no hope of retiring, which is pretty demoralising," she said.
"This sort of has given us some hope, but we've lost 10 years of our life and 10 years of developing a property."
Agricultural industry body AgForce echoes Ms Sabag's concerns.
President Grant Maudsley said some politicians do not understand the challenges of managing rural properties. "It's easy on the left side of politics ... to point at the bush and say the bush is doing the wrong things," he said. "It's simply not the case."
"We would prefer to go down a policy outcome ... and have a little talk about things, but to keep pointing the finger consistently time and time again at one issue as being the problem is rubbish."
Mr Maudsley hopes the reef will not make UNESCO's 'in danger' list and disputes evidence that land clearing is the problem.
"What we're all looking for is reducing runoff, but you don't do that by having all trees and all grass, you have a combination of both," he said. "If you have a complete tree landscape, you actually end up with a really high density of trees, which actually reduces the cover on the ground and water actually runs off."
Mr Maudsley also points out other sectors, including mining, have a role to play in restoring health to the reef.
Conservationists agree and criticise the report's failure to make any substantial policy commitments to dealing with climate change.
Imogen Zethoven from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said reducing fossil fuels is a key part of that. "We really have to start taking some tough decisions, and one of them is that we really should not be opening up any new coal mines," Ms Zethoven said.
She is concerned about the proposed controversial Adani coal mine in the Galilee Basin, which has just secured a rail line, a temporary construction camp and is now seeking federal government funding. "[It's a] devastating mine that will really spell disaster for the reef," she said.
"We are also extremely concerned that the Federal Government appears to be using taxpayer money to fund this reef-destroying project."
"We know that there is a serious issue with jobs in north Queensland, but it's not about any old job, it's the right job.
"It's about jobs that are in industries that are the future, like renewable energy, jobs that are in the tourism sector, which is growing, that will be terribly hurt if this massive Adani coal mine goes ahead."
If the reef is placed on the 'in danger' list it could potentially lose its world heritage status and that could have devastating impacts on the tourism sector.
Daniel Gschwind from Queensland's Tourism Industry Council said it could deter visitors and undermine Australia's reputation as a tourist destination.
"The money they spend on the visits to the reef, to Queensland, to north Queensland amounts to between $5-6 billion every year," Mr Gschwind said.
"That money circulates through local communities, regional communities, on and on, and it employs and generates employment for about 50,000 Queenslanders."
He said UNESCO's assessment is putting the international spotlight on Australia, and the next few years could see it emerge as either the hero or the villain of environmental management.
Dick Smith backs One Nation leader Pauline Hanson
Dick is probably the most popular man in Australia so this is a huge win for Pauline
Dick Smith Businessman Dick Smith is reportedly planning to lend his support to Pauline Hanson's One Nation party as they launch a major campaign in Sydney at the next NSW state and federal elections.
The Australian entrepreneur predicted Hanson would be met with a surge of Trump-like support in traditionally conservative parts of Sydney, such as the north shore, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Mr Smith told the Telegraph he supported many of Pauline Hanson's policies, but said he did not agree with her views on Muslim immigration.
“I support her policy on Julian Assange. I support her immigration policy. She says she’s going to have a policy to help general aviation. I’ll certainly support that,” he said.
“I agree with her views on immigration numbers, that is about 70,000 a year, not 200,000. But I do not agree with her views on Muslim immigration.”
Mr Smith said he had an initial conversation with Hanson last week, where he asked her tough questions about Muslim immigration, and was planning to meet with her again before Christmas to advise her on policy.
He said that with his support he could help her secure tens of thousands of voters from the aviation industry, because they have "been let down by the ALP and the Liberals".
Mr Smith, who in 2011 authored a book titled "Dick Smith's Population Crisis", said he was also drawn to One Nation because it was "the only political party that has a policy on not having perpetual population growth".
“That means we’ll end up stabilising our population so young people will be able to afford houses,” he said.
He ruled out financially backing One Nation, saying he had never donated to a political party.
Daniel Andrews’ war on religion falters
The Victorian Labor Government has run into heavy weather trying to convince the Legislative Council to pass its Religious Exceptions Bill.
Most people would agree that an organisation formed to advance a cause or a way of life — whether social, political or religious — should be able to choose not to employ people whose beliefs or lifestyle contradict or undermine the cause. Current Victorian anti-discrimination law permits this type of discrimination. Political parties can apply a political values and activity filter in employment — the Greens don’t have to employ climate change deniers as fundraisers or in media relations. Imagine if they did. Religious bodies can employ a religious values and activities filter -– they don’t have to employ people whose beliefs or actions flatly contradict the religion. And clubs to preserve minority cultures don’t have to accept as members people who don’t have the attributes of that culture. And fair enough. Organisations which advance a cause or way of life need the freedom to choose to employ people who will be ambassadors for the cause.
As Murray Campbell described on Flat White some time ago, and as the Institute for Civil Society has explained elsewhere, the Religious Exceptions Bill limits this freedom, but only for religious organisations. It will require religious organisations, including schools, to justify to an arm of the government, like the Human Rights Commission or a tribunal, why it is “an inherent requirement” of any position for a potential employee to conform to the values of the religion.
If the government disagrees, the religious organisation will have to take on employees who don’t agree with the basic values of the organisation or pay them compensation. The law will effectively remove the ability of parents to send their children to a religious school where all the staff are selected to express and live out the values of the religion.
The law will make it hard for religious organisations to maintain their religious identity and culture. Why should a church (or mosque) have to justify to the government why its youth leader needs to be a Christian (or Muslim) and follow Christian (or Islamic) teaching on sex and marriage?
Imagine if the Collingwood Football Club were forced to accept one-eyed Carlton supporters as members of the Collingwood cheer squad. How would that work? Or what about a political party? Imagine if the ALP could not refuse to hire a vocal union hater as a fundraiser? It wouldn’t work.
The proposed law also contains a massive double-standard. Churches, mosques, synagogues, religious charities and welfare agencies, and religious schools will all need to justify to the government their “conformity to values” requirements in employment. But not political parties or organisations and not clubs for minority cultures. Only religious organisations.
The Bill looks like it is designed to undercut the ability of religious organisations to continue to be true to their basic beliefs and values. And this, it seems, has not cut the mustard with the cross bench in the Legislative Council. At least so far. The Government seems to know it may not have the numbers to pass the Bill and has adjourned debate without a resumption date.
Thankfully for Victorians, common sense and freedom of association seem to have the numbers so far in the upper house. Let’s hope good sense will continue to prevail and this bill never sees the light of day again or if it comes back it will suffer the fate required by its inherent flaws.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here